A Look At Who’s in, Who’s Out, and Who Could go Either way

There’s one more week left in Stage 3 of the inaugural season for the Overwatch League.  While anything could happen, we already have a good idea of what will happen regarding the stage finals.  Taking a look now at not just the teams that are in and out, but those that have to fight for a chance at the finals will make this weeks matches all the more exciting.  Remember that for this stage the finals will follow the new format.  Previously the top three faced off in a seated playoff, 2nd vs. 3rd with the winner playing 1st seed for the championship.  Now four teams will qualify for the finals.  The kicker is that the 1st seed will be able to choose their opponent.  

 

Who is in?

One of these teams is going to look very familiar in the stage playoff discussion.  The other less so, but there’s a good chance that this isn’t going to be their only stage finals appearance.  

NYXL 7-1 Stage, 25-3 Overall

New York was handed a rare loss courtesy of the Uprising this stage.  This puts them at less then perfect recoard for the stage.   More importantly this places them behind Boston in the stage table, despite being at the top of he season rankings by a large margin.  Wit h seven wins they have secured their position in the stage finals.  New York faces  Shanghai and Dallas this week, two teams they should have no problem with.  

Boston Uprising 8-0 Stage 3, 20-8 Overall

Boston is the true underdog story of the OWL.  Looking back to predictions the Uprising were consistently placed lower on the power rankings by, well, everyone.  Though they proved that they didn’t belong on the bottom by the end of Stage One, they still had a long way to go from the top.  Things seemed more precarious for them when the DreamKazper drama hit a few weeks ago.  Once again people had counted the Uprising out.  This time Boston player Mistakes and some incredible coordinated play kept the Uprising climbing.  

While some teams could meet their record if they lose both matches their +15 map differential should be more than enough to keep them at the top slot if this happens.  Boston faces both LA teams this week and while victory isn’t guaranteed in any way, the Uprising has recently beat stronger teams.  

 

Who is out?

It’s the nature of competitive sports that there are winners and losers, and esports are no different.  Even with two of the ten matches left to go in this stage these teams no longer have a shot at the finals.  

Shanghai Dragons 0-8 Stage, 0-28 Overall

Plenty of people are pulling for the Dragons to get that first win but it’s not going to come at the stage playoffs next Sunday.  With no wins in the stage let alone season even two wins this week won’t get them in.  This doesn’t mean that they couldn’t get that first win this week.  Their opponents will be New York and London.  Tough, but the Dragons did nearly beat Philadelphia the other day.  

Dallas Fuel 1-8 Stage, 6-22 Overall

This team has had the worst luck, drama, and by some accounts performance in the league.  With star DPS EFFECT back in Korea and only a single win this stage the boys in blue will be unable to advance to the stage finals.  This week they play the Fusion and NYXL which are tough opponents but Seagull and aKm could surprise.  

Florida Mayhem 2-6 Stage, 6-22 Overall

The Mayhem have made some big changes to their team.  Like the Dragons their roster now is in a much different place than it was opening day of the league.  Fortunately for them it looks stronger than ever.  Unfortunately it won’t be enough to compete for the stage title this coming Sunday.  In their matches this week they’ll get the chance to play spoiler to the Shock and Gladiators, two teams who need that win.  

 

Who could go either way

This is the exciting part.  We all know about the Dragons losing streak.  We all know how good the NYXL squad looks.  What’s interesting is the rest of the league who will be slugging it out this week to get into the stage finals.  

Los Angeles Valiant 6-2 Stage, 17-11 Overall

Things look good for the Valiant.  In addition to 6 wins this stage they have  a +13 map differential.  It’s their opponents this week that keep this from being a sure thing.  Boston will be looking to get that perfect stage and Philadelphia has to be looking for another shot at the top after the Stage Two finals.  If they don’t get both wins then there’s several teams that are ready to take their number three spot.   

Los Angeles Gladiators 5-3 Stage, 15-13 Overall

We Highlighted the Gladiators for their performance in the Battle of LA a few weeks back.  Since then the Gladiators have had their shields up.  They’ve taken some impressive wins this stage and are on the verge of reaping the benefits of their hard work.  THey play the Mayhem, who they should have no problem with, and the Uprising, who could be a big problem.  Even so, they have a very good chance of getting into the stage playoffs for the first time.  

Houston Outlaws 4-4 Stage, 16-12 Overall

The Outlaws sit deceptively high in the stage table.  They have the same record in this stage as three other teams.  Only a +1 map differential puts them into the 5th spot in the standings.  That +1 might just be enough if they can get convincing wins against the Shock and Dynasty this week.  Anything less and they’ll be on the outside looking in.   

Philadelphia Fusion 4-4 Stage, 17-11 Overall

You know that this team wants it.  After a stellar performance in the Stage 2 Finals the Fusion have had a little trouble in this stage.  Don’t count the out though.  Their opponents this week are the Fuel and Valiant.  This second match will be more important and could easily be the deciding factor if they perform as expected against Dallas.  

Seoul Dynasty 4-4 Stage, 18-10 Overall

Despite their fall from everyone’s number one pick at the beginning of the season the Dynasty are still at the top of the Pacific Division.  They also have to want a slot in the stage playoffs more than anyone as they are the only Korean team with out a stage final appearance.  They play London and Houston this week.  These are games that won’t be easy, but they are winnable.  More important, these wins would help keep the other Stage Final hopefuls out.  The Dynasty have a -2 map differential in this stage, something the teams must be considering if they tie for map wins in the end.  

San Francisco Shock 4-4 Stage, 10-18 Overall

The Shock have looked the best they have all season this stage.  Though less consistent than some they posses all the pieces of a winning team.  Their games against Houston and Florida are risky for them, especially given their negative map differential (-4).  That said this is a squad that can really pop off when need be.  They’ve also beaten both teams before.  

London Spitfire 3-5 Stage, 18-10 Overall

It’s going to be close.  If the Spitfire make it in it’s going to be very close.  In addition to winning their two games this week against Shanghai (No problem) and Seoul (less so) they need some of the other teams to fail.  What helps them is that they currently sit with a zero map differential.  The Shock and Dynasty both have negative map differentials despite better records.  If London knocks their games out of the park this week then it may just be enough.  

 

The Stage playoffs will be held in the Blizzard Arena on Sunday May 6th.  The pulse bombs fly at 1 PM PST so make sure you are tuned in on Twitch, MLG, or the game client.  This is a final you won’t want to miss.  

About The Author

James Verzuh was a real corporal once. Now he's an archaeologist and writes about esports.